Handmade glass pods with seed beads and pearls

My Story

snowmaggedon close up 3


Lampwork ~ Metalwork ~ Beadwork “Work” seems to be the theme here, but in reality, I ran away to the circus in the 80s.  Having a degree in finance, I was doing what all good business majors do: I had a job (it was the 80s and I will say that wasn’t all bad).  One of my co-workers was going to the Cultural Art Center for classes.  I signed up for jewelry making.  First day of class I set the record for number of saw blades broken (19!!!).

But I was hooked.

I thought metal and rocks were it for me.  Then the same co-worker (thanks a lot Valerie) took me to our local bead shop.  It was what this white-bread, suburban wife and mother imagined an opium den was like….only with beads.  Lots of beads.  It was the first time I had ever really seen artist made lampwork beads.  “I can do that!” she said.  Ha! O the ugly beads I made! And kept making.  Most were only beads your mother and the man who promised to like whatever you made could compliment.

So decades later, I’m still at it and I think I’ve got the hang of it. I consider myself a wearable artist rather than a jewelry designer.  I seldom make the same thing twice, although I will get hooked on something I can’t quit until the itch is totally scratched (SERIOUS ART people refer to this as a series, I believe).  Mask/Faces, dragged dots, windows, and lately it’s the “Botany Gone Bad” pod series and color pencil on copper.

I’ve had some great teachers along the way:  Juanita Hill, John Winter, Jim Smircich, Robert Dancik, Jillian Moore, Gail Crossman Moore,  Met Innmon, Kim St. Jean, Kaska Firor, Marjorie Langston and Terry Hale. And I’ve had some terrific students that inspired me more than they will know.

I’m usually plugging away in my studio in Loveland on Bridge Street-you can’t miss the aqua and purple house with the magenta door.  But I have been known to schlep my stuff to various parts of the U.S. I’ve done the big shows like Tucson, Bead & Button, and Bead Fest, but I also really like the intimacy of trunk shows (maybe I’m just getting old).  I’ve been fortunate to have my work grace the pages of Bead & Button, Lapidary Journal, 1000 Glass Beads, 500 Beaded Objects, Beads of Glass, Glass Bead Evolution and in exhibits and traveling shows. I will be updating this site on a regular basis, but you can find me on Facebook,  Instagram and Pinterest.

If you are in the Cincinnati area, you can find me in the studio at 373 Bridge Street, Loveland, Ohio 45140, M-Thurs, noon-6 and often on the weekends by appointment.   marykargdesigns@msn.com       ~       513-300-2277

2 thoughts on “My Story”

  1. Mary,
    Will you be coming to the Tucson Gem Show in 2018 to give any workshops? If not, are you giving in workshops in Arizona in 2017 or 2018? Love your book!!

    Thank you,

    1. Hi Sarah! At this point, I don’t have any classes scheduled in Arizona for 2017 or 2018.  I will be in California in November for the Bay Area Bead Extravaganza and am working on a possible workshop in Dallas.  I toyed with having workshops in Tucson during the gem shows, but hauling my equipment across country is not fun.  If there were a place that had a metalsmithing setup that would like to host a workshop, I would come in a heartbeat.  If you have any suggestions, let me know.

      Glad you liked the book!

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